Sounding Like a Winner: Making Your Executive Summary Pop

Crafting a business plan is one of the most daunting steps in creating your own business. Whether it’s an online store or what you hope will become a national chain, you’ve got a lot riding on this proposal. A lot of business owners (or soon-to-be owners) get bogged down in the financial section. They feel the pressure to show that their idea will perform in the market. They feel like they have to make the work very clear, and they do. The problem is that beautifully crafted financial section to your business plan might never come to light. Professional investors have a lot of proposals coming across their desks. If you don’t sell things with the executive summary they’re never going to see how well grounded your projected earnings are. So what can you do to make your executive summary all that it could be?

Remember the Elevator Pitch Approach

For those who don’t know, the elevator pitch is what you’re going to say if you ever find yourself taking an elevator ride with the exact person who could help your business. You have maybe two minutes to sell your idea enough for him to invite you into his office to talk at length. You have to be bold. You have to be concise. You also have to be engaging, charming, and confident. And you have to make the sale in that short space of time. Your executive summary isn’t just the overview of your more in-depth business plan. The executive summary is the place where you show off to the investor. You can’t just be factual; you have to have some flair. You have to be dynamic and moving. You should also include all the important stats of your business in one small (no longer than two pages) chunk. You can fill in the rest of your pitch by using a business plan template, but the executive summary has to be unique.

Remember Organizational Details

“The Order of Plan Element Presentation” is listed as one of the top five most common fatal flaws in business plans and executive summaries, according to If you’re using a simple business plan template, the urge is there to change things up and make it unique to your plan. Clearly, you want to show you’re a stand out in the executive summary but things still need to make logical sense. If you display your facts in a way that is confusing or difficult to follow, your investors aren’t going to put in the effort to understand you.

The business investment world is competitive and investors are spoiled for choice. Why should they invest any extra energy in understanding your idea when they have twelve others waiting for their attention already? Make sure that the information in your executive summary (and entire plan) flows naturally. You don’t want to give them an excuse to overlook you or turn you down.

Less Is More

Once you’ve made sure that your executive summary shines and you’ve filled in your business plan template with the appropriate information and smoothed out all the rough edges, you can finally stop working. You don’t want to turn a good, solid business plan into an overwrought monstrosity. Once you’re sure that you’ve gotten everything straight and you’ve had an associate to look at things over for you, send it out. The business plan is only the first step. A great executive summary will sell your business’s idea like nothing else will, but you have to actually move beyond it. It’s too easy to get caught up in this and not focus on anything else. Once you’ve sent it out, gotten feedback, gotten your backers, you’ll actually start to build your business.

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